By Ryan Swingruber ’10, principal at HeyDay

My entrepreneurial spirit has always inspired me to take on difficult projects. My time at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) fueled this and inspired my entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving.

Given my passion for real estate development and entrepreneurship, it seemed natural for me to leave a successful corporate career in real estate development and raise capital to start my own firm, Heyday. Heyday is solely focused on developing single-story, single-family rental homes at a time when they are in great need. The current U.S housing market is estimated to be short anywhere from 4 to 7 million homes. Couple the shortage with inflation and rising interest rates, and the issue is further compounded. Mortgages now cost 37% more than the average rent, driving rent-vs-buy decisions. Whether you are a millennial saving for your first home or a baby boomer looking to downsize, it has never been more difficult to find quality and accessible single-family housing.

In response to the housing shortage, Heyday embraces a design-heavy approach incorporating modular construction strategies to develop universally designed single-family attached (SFA) rental homes. There is no doubt that my technical educational background inspired this approach.

To create efficiency and cost savings in construction, we have developed a unique design strategy: the Kit-of-Parts design. Our goal is to promote standardization and repetition, which allow for construction savings that can be used on the higher quality unit finishes that matter most to the end user. We focus on designing efficient units where every square foot has maximum utility, and where the elements most desired in today’s living spaces are honored. And all Heyday rental homes are universally designed, meaning they are accessible, which is a type of housing in critical need for baby boomers and seniors.

The Kit-of-Parts design strategy results in a novel housing product that can be built faster and is more cost-effective, thereby reducing carry costs and time to market while providing a high-end, well-built SFA rental home as a substitution for home ownership. Ultimately, this allows for a more controllable process and product in terms of schedule, takeoffs, pricing, and quality control.

Heyday worked with a world-class design team to create a repeatable design more efficient in terms of constructability and therefore, more amenable to scalability. By standardizing design and construction, Heyday will transition from operating on a project-by-project basis in the Midwest to forming strategic partnerships for a pipeline of repeatable projects across the United States. We need to build more housing in this country and with a strategy focused on process, approach, scale, and replicability, we strive to be part of the solution.

I am thankful for my time at Lally and RPI and for professors like Andrew Corbett, Timothy Golden, Chris McDermott, and Gina O’Connor who furthered the entrepreneurial drive inspiring me to embrace challenges in today’s housing market.